Family Physician

Family physicians are physicians educated and trained in family practice — a broadly
encompassing medical specialty. Family physicians provide continuing and comprehensive medical care, health maintenance and preventive services to each member of the
family, regardless of sex, age or type of problem — biological, behavioral or social.
Family practice is a three-dimensional specialty, incorporating the dimensions of
knowledge, skill and process. While knowledge and skill may be shared with other
specialties, the family practice process is unique. At the center of this process is the
patient-physician relationship. It is the extent to which this relationship is valued,
developed and nurtured that distinguishes family practice from all other specialties.
Family physicians:
• teach patients about their own health and wellness needs, as well as those of
their children. Also, they track children’s growth and development.
• treat patients suffering from common acute health problems such as respiratory
infections, flu, sports injuries, back pain and minor trauma (lacerations
and sprains).
• examine and diagnose patients using clinical skills, medical equipment,
instruments and tests.
• prescribe and administer drugs and treatments.
• immunize patients against preventable and communicable diseases.
• provide ongoing treatment for those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes,
hypertension, obesity, asthma, arthritis or cardiac conditions.
• care for patients with complex medical problems, either alone or in consultation
with medical or surgical subspecialists.
Most family physicians work in private offices, hospitals and clinics. They may work
alone or with other physicians and are usually aided by nurses, technicians and other
support personnel.

Average Salary Range:
$ 90,000 – 130,000
Educational Requirements
Students interested in becoming a family physician should take the most challenging high school courses available in science, math and English, including advanced placement courses. To enter medical school, students must
have a bachelor’s degree, with a high grade point average in a pre-medical program or other related major. They must pass a national examination (MCAT) and undergo extensive interviews. Upon completion of medical school, students enter a three-year post-graduate training program in family medicine (internship and residency), during which they
receive training specific to family practice.

Professional Associations

American Academy of Family Physicians
11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway
Leawood, KS 66211
(913) 906-6000
www.aafp.org